京のキー The amazing shogun room

The amazing shogun room

After all these years I've finally made up my mind and chosen my favourite temple in Kyoto. Toji-in wins for three reasons: it has the most amazing statues, holds the tomb of Ashikaga Takauji (one of my favourite figures in Japanese history) and photography is allowed everywhere. Although the garden is somewhat scarred by the new buildings of the Ritsumeikan University, which block the mountains that were an integral part of the scenery (shame on you!), it is still stunning.

The statues of the Ashikaga shoguns are exceptionally beautiful and life-like. Although the painted dragon upon the ceiling was damaged by rain until it was beyond saving, the statues have survived the tumultuous centuries. Anti-Tokugawa forces attacked Toji-in and managed to decapitate many of the statues (they have since been restored, though a few of the shoguns are conspicuously absent). Wishing to place the emperor at the head of the country once more, they stormed the small temple and laid waste to much of the grounds. Although the Ashikaga shoguns are far removed from the Tokugawa dynasty, people saw them as cast in the same die, and knew it would be far less dangerous to attack goverment authority indirectly. Maybe for this reason, Toji-in is far less famous than it should be, far less visited than it deserves to be, and is now far more accessible than other Kyoto temples. An ancient set of armour merely sits rusting behind a door, open to the elements.

I love this place and think it should reclaim its status once more.

Thank you so much for these pictures of the shogun statues. I linked to this from my blog post

I was so struck by this temple and this gallery of shoguns. But I could not find any other pictures on the net until I found yours.
Sandy Barnes (Email) (URL) - 12 05 10 - 16:32

Hi Sandy, I am really glad you enjoyed the photos. Toji-in really is a spectacular place, and I am glad you visited as so many tourists pass it by. I wish my camera was a bit better, but I don’t think any photographs can really do the statues justice. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

Ki (Email) - 12 05 10 - 19:32

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Rhod and Ki's tour of life in Kyoto, Japan.

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